Earning top nod for exports, Redi-Rock follows Besser example, JFK tradition

Redi-Rock International, the Michigan-based concrete formwork developer and licensor who helped reshape the wet cast, gravity retaining wall market, has received the President’s “E” Award for Exporting from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“E” Awards are the highest honors for entities making significant contributions to expanding U.S. exports. Past Michigan recipients include Besser Co., Alpena, which earned the award in 1973. The program dates to a 1961 Executive Order by President John F. Kennedy.
Redi-Rock has parlayed a global footprint through partnerships with ready mixed producers like Lachaux Betons of Saint-Pantaléon-de-Larche, France, which offers the precast wall system through a companion business, BBlox.

“We believe you don’t look at international barriers, but international opportunities,” says Global Account Manager Andrew Nickodemus. “We’re looking to help change the world in concrete ways.” In five years, he adds, Redi-Rock quintupled the number of retaining wall installations delivered overseas and domestically, while expanding international accounts or licensees from four to 23.

“Redi-Rock is a truly innovative company when it comes to not only their products, but how they see obstacles,” observes Jean Schtokal, an international business and trade attorney at Lansing, Mich.-based Foster Swift Collins & Smith. “They found creative ways to connect with organizations and manufacturers all over the globe, while protecting their intellectual property.”

Schotkal chairs the West Michigan District Export Council and is Executive in Residence at the Michigan State University Broad School of Business’ International Business Center. Concurrent with Redi-Rock’s honors, her firm received the President’s “E” Award for Export Service, prompting this observation from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: “Foster Swift Collins & Smith’s achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs.”